1. THE REDEMPTION
Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, has freed us from the evil consequences of sin.
Man after the Fall was unable to regain for himself his former holiness and justice, and all the goods that were bound up with these. A man whose body is dead cannot raise himself again to bodily life; so one who is spiritually dead cannot raise himself again to spiritual life. Man after the Fall became like a sick man who cannot move hand or foot, or arise from the bed on which he is lying. What the Good Samaritan was to the man who had fallen among thieves, Our Lord is to the man who has been wounded by the craft of the devil and robbed of his spiritual and supernatural gifts. Jesus Christ is also called Our Saviour or Our Redeemer, because He saved us from hell and brought us back at the cost of His own precious blood.
Christ freed us from the spiritual consequences of sin in the following manner: He enlightened our understanding by His teaching, inclined our will to good by His precepts and promises, and by His sacrifice of Himself upon the cross won for us the means of grace by which we once more attain to sanctification and become the children of God and heirs of the kingdom of heaven.
Christ took upon Himself a threefold office, that of Prophet or Teacher, Priest, and King. This threefold office he ascribes to Him self under various titles. He calls Himself the Light of the world (John xii. 46), because He enlightens the darkness of our understanding by His doctrine. As a light makes distant objects clear and visible, so Christ makes clear to us the most distant objects, God and His perfections, the world to come, heaven and hell, time and eternity. Before Pilate He calls Himself the King Whose kingdom is not of this world (John xviii. 36). He also calls Himself the Good Shepherd, Who gives His life for His sheep (John x. 11). He also often compares Himself to a guide or leader (John xiv. 6; Matt. x. 38). We are wanderers in this world; we have here no abiding dwelling-place, but seek one that is to come. The road is rough, steep, and surrounded with precipices, and we in our ignorance are in . constant danger of wandering from the way. Christ undertakes to be our Guide. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John xiv. 6), and He promises that if we take Him for our Guide, and follow in His sacred footsteps, we shall never go wrong. St. Paul calls Christ our great High Priest (Heb. ii. 17), Who needs not, like other priests, first to offer sacrifices for his own sins, and then for the people. By His obedience He atoned for Adam’s disobedience (Rom. v. 19), for Pie was obedient to death, even to the death of the cross (Phil. ii. 8). Christ opened heaven again to us by earning for us the means of grace. By which, and especially by the sacraments and holy Mass, we can obtain sanctifying grace and be made children of God. In opening heaven to us, Christ tore away the veil which shut us out from the holy of holies (Matt. xxvii. 51), i.e., from heaven, and by His blood gave us a sure hope of entering in (Heb. x. 19). The cross is thus the key of heaven for us.
Christ freed us also from the consequences of sin as it affected our bodies; He has died instead of us, and has thus earned for us the resurrection of our bodies; He has by His teaching and His example taught us what we must do in order to be happy in this world, to overcome the world, and so to attain to the celestial paradise; lastly He has given us the means by which we may vanquish and drive far from us the enemy of our souls.
By His own resurrection Christ insured for us the resurrection of our bodies. “By man came death, and by man came also the resurrection from the dead” (1 Cor. xv. 21). By following the teaching of Christ, we shall secure true peace on earth (Cf. John iv. 13), and by practicing the virtues that He taught us, especially humility, chastity, and liberality, we shall overcome the devil and the world. By the sacramentals we drive away from us the evil one. Christ has broken the power of the devil (Apoc. xii. 10, 11), but the final victory over him will be at the end of the world (1 Cor. xv. 24, 25; Cf. Luke x. 18). By the death of Christ we have won back almost all that was lost by original sin, though some of its consequences still remain, such as sickness, death, and evil tendencies. Yet we have won more by the death of Christ than we lost by sin. Where sin abounded, grace did the more abound (Rom. v. 20). Hence the Church exclaims in the Office for Holy Saturday: “O happy fault, which obtained for us so great a Redeemer!”
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